Friday, 8 May 2009

Virgin - good effort!

With a bowler tip to Mark Frary over at The Times...

And this with a bowler tip to Westmount and, of course, Saatchi and Saatchi...

Just in case anyone is in doubt about what BR could achieve.

Selection of new NR Public Members begins

This should be a laugh.

Lets see how long it takes NR to weed out applications from the awkward squad this time.

Heaven forefend that anyone should be appointed as a public member with a scintilla of knowledge about the railways.

Or indeed with the ability to pose awkward questions of NRs well remunerated board.

UPDATE: This just in from our man at 222 Marylebone Road...

Is there any truth in the rumour that Captain Deltic is to stand down in favour of Joanna Lumley?

Having seen how Purdey dealt with Phil Woolas she'd sort out Coucher in no time.

UPDATE: This just in from Network Rail...

We are looking for "people with a strong belief in accountability and a thorough understanding of, and commitment to, good corporate governance".

So if you think you meet those criteria do get in touch.

The Fact Compiler says:

Prove it and select some Public Members who are sufficiently knowledgeable AND independent enough to really hold you to account.

Go on. I dare you!
(The Fact Compiler will not be applying)

UPDATE: This just in from our man at 222 Marylebone Road...

Clearly experience of the industry is of less importance than being an expert at corporate 'buzz word bingo'.

So that's the Captain AND Purdey ruled out !

The Fact Compiler
can stomach Gordon paying his brother to do "cleaning services"


But rule out Purdey and it gets personal!

NR hoisted by own petard

Telegrammed by our man at 222 Marylebone Road
According to today's Daily Mail even fares are now Coucher's fault.

And serves him jolly well right after his comments in the FT.

UPDATE: Drat - NR managed to get the story corrected an hour after publication.

And they even managed to get the URL changed!

However, Coucher's comments in the FT remain!

Velopodist comes out in favour of barriers!

Telegrammed by the Velopodist
Matthew Engel's assertion that other countries have avoided the ticket barrier is typical of the rosy-eyed view so many of the British middle classes have of other countries' railways.

And I suppose, given the slow or non-existent passenger growth on these railways and their extravagant spending on high-prestige, low-use high-speed trains, they are at least less crowded and busy than those on our own sceptred isles' fast-growing system.

But one does wonder whether Mr Engel has ever been to Paris?
The ticket barriers on the Paris metro are some of the most hostile to be found anywhere.

And, if one insists that the examples have to be from the mainline railways, the dreadful, dangerous, full-body height barriers on Paris's RER seem far, far more dangerous than the relatively timid, health-and-safety-compliant ones we have in this country.

I find it hard to think of any metro not equipped with some equivalent of the British ticket barriers, most of them far more dicey than ours.

Admittedly, most continental European countries do without barriers at their mainline termini - why bother when the taxpayer is paying most of the cost of the journey, after all?

But would the barrier-haters really prefer the ticket-cancelling system so prevalent in continental Europe? Once one's bought one's ticket, one normally has to find an obscure, hidden machine either on the platform or train to cancel it. Fail to locate such a box in time and one will be accosted by an angry, moustachioed man in a peaked cap demanding in no uncertain terms that one pay a fine five or six times the cost of the ticket one's already bought.

Of course, if the cancelling system were the normal British one and other countries preferred simple, automatic ticket barriers, a certain kind of person would simply change positions.

The cancelling system would be held up as an example of the officious, money-grubbing privatised British railway. The ticket barriers, meanwhile, would be seen as a paragon of continental efficiency that we should immediately import to our own, benighted country.

Given the way Lord Adonis has recently droned on about the wonders of the low-growth railways in Germany, France, Spain and Italy, perhaps we should name the affliction 'Adonitis'.